White Chocolate Kladdkaka

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The sun is streaming in bright and warm in this café. The shot of soy milk in my iced Americano is a weak ivory, colour and taste slowly being watered down by all that ice. As ivory as the white chocolate that was the death of me the past weekend.

So a word or two about white chocolate. The ‘low-grade, ‘fake’, the stuff that will never live up to the heady lusciousness of her dark and milk sisters. If white chocolate has no quality of chocolate to offer (cocoa solids, caffeine maybe), perhaps it should not even be called chocolate. But it’s still a chocolate derivative– cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids, and the process and pleasure involved in consuming chocolate, dark or white or in between, is nevertheless the same. A silky richness, a smooth going-down.

And now for kladdkaka, a simple Swedish cake, and very much more of a brownie in its own right. Typically made with dark chocolate, or a mix of dark and milk. White chocolate? The Swedish may dislike this, but with some white chocolate Easter eggs lying around, why not, I thought. The prevailing thought: why not. It’s as fudgy as fudge gets, moist, and most importantly, sticky, especially in the middle. That’s what makes it pretty unique. I took a risk baking this jussst until set at the 20-minute mark, but that was perfect, and set up just as well as I had hoped, as it continued to cool after baking.

Last week consisted of more work, feeling more strongly upon seeing people than I anticipated, almost as if totally out of control, leading to dreams similarly on this same level of bewilderment, too vivid for me to process as not real, to the point where I woke up and literally said, oh shit, that wasn’t real at all, out loud. I guess we all have those days. Making this cake was a sweet, sensible end to all the incomprehension the past week, incomprehension borne out of my own incapability of teasing out my own emotions about a variety of things in work and in relationships. It’s not that I don’t know at least a little bit why I feel this way, but I wonder if my mind is playing up, or if I’m simply someone who becomes too emotionally attached to everything and everyone too easily, making myself think I’m ok with doing things which a lot of other people get away with, with no consequence. I wonder what other people do when they don’t know how or what to feel.

I’ve also finished watching Osmosis and Dark, two short but intense series on Netflix, which probably made me feel a lot of things and contributed to that lack of self-comprehension on a subconscious level. In any case, and after all that blabber, I highly recommend both series.

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In the original recipe I referred to, the eggs and sugar were beat together for 7 minutes, although I found my mixture to reach a pale and fluffy consistency at the 5-minute mark with aquafaba, so play around with 5-7 minutes. An electrical whisk/beater is crucial here. You don’t want too-tired arms getting in the way of the fun of the whole process, and the speed and efficiency of an electrical whisk will get your egg-sugar mixture to where you need it to be in no time. You want it to be quite a bit more voluminous than what you see when you first start whisking the mixture. Same goes for the aquafaba, the stuff I used, which takes quite a while to whip up anyway.

I’m not sure if people have strong opinions on using salted butter in their recipes, but since I always have salted butter in my fridge, I almost always end up using it to bake anyway. It adds a nice dispersed flavour of salt, without ever making your final product actually taste salty. Also saves you the hassle of going out to buy a new block. The easy incorporation balances the heady sweetness of white chocolate. Look at that squidge, below, right there, in the centre, and tell me you don’t want to make this.

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White Chocolate Kladdkaka (makes 1 9-inch cake, modified from this recipe)

Ingredients

150g salted butter (if not salted, add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the dry mix later on)

150g good quality white chocolate (vegan/normal)

150g plain flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

150g white sugar

6 tbsp aquafaba (the egg-white looking liquid left after draining a can of chickpeas), or 2 whole eggs

 

Directions

Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and grease a 9-inch cake pan. I used one with a removable bottom (like for cheesecakes) just so it’s easy to take out, and I’m lazy when it comes to greasing and lining things just like other humans sometimes.

Melt the butter and white chocolate together in a saucepan on medium heat, or in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl. If microwaving, take out every minute to stir, and so the chocolate doesn’t catch and cook too fast in the middle. Set aside this melted mixture aside for now while you put together the rest of the cake.

In a bowl, and using an electrical whisk, beat together the aquafaba/eggs and sugar for at least 5 minutes, until light, fluffy, and more voluminous than when you first started. Then add the white chocolate-butter mixture, vanilla extract, and flour (and salt if you did not use salted butter). Pour the thick but droppy batter into your greased tin and bake for 20-22 minutes. A wooden skewer inserted will come out pretty wet, but this is normal. The cake will continue to cook when you take it out to set. Once you’ve left it to cool for around 10 minutes, dust on some icing sugar, then eat plain, or with yoghurt and berries. Simply divine.

10-minute Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Frosting

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Look down at my boots. The wind gets through even those. Tights? Never thick enough. But thank God for Barbours. It’s getting colder… And colder. Despite the bitter air and occasional drizzle that somehow makes the situation 5 times worse, I’m embracing the sudden transition into proper fall here in the UK. Couldn’t believe it when a friend posted a video of soft snow right outside her window, here in South Kensington. It’s happening!

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The cold means more warm chocolate somethings, topped with chocolate caramel peanut butter frosting. Chocolate anythings. Some days just demand brownies, and only brownies. The first time I made this and followed the initial recipe, the whole 20 minutes made it much too dry for my liking, so I adjusted proportions and timing. Lo and behold, everything was gooey and beautiful in less than 10. The excitement was too much. Too much.

You need that rich goo. A dark, deep, intense pleasure. If I want a good, fudgy brownie that’s chewy around the edges, my go-to recipe is right here, so I implore you to check that out as well; it’s just as simple and almost as quick. This is more a mix between a gooey mud pie and dense cake, but the change is welcome and delicious. Topped with caramel peanut buttery goodness, it really doesn’t get much better than this. What do I love so much about this recipe?

  1. It takes 10 minutes. And in my case, just 7, because sometimes miracles happen.
  2. You can use either natural or processed peanut butter (crunchy, if you may) without any disastrous consequence.
  3. You won’t stop licking and picking.

 

Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Frosting (adapted from Sorted Food’s Swedish Chocolate Brownie recipe- serves 9-12)

Ingredients

For the brownies:

110g (half cup) salted, melted butter (or use unsalted, and add a pinch of salt into wet ingredients later)

200g white caster sugar

2 eggs

130g plain, all-purpose flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

55g cocoa powder

40g dark chocolate, melted in a microwave in 30-second bursts

 

For the frosting:

90g ( slightly more than 1/4 cup) chunky/smooth peanut butter; natural peanut butter works perfectly here as well, just make sure it’s properly mixed through

50 dark chocolate chunks, melted in a microwave

75ml (1/4 cup) caramel sauce, store-bought or homemade

 

Directions

Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and grease a square/round 23cm baking pan. In a bowl and with a whisk, mix together the melted butter, sugar, melted dark chocolate and vanilla extract. Add the salt here if you used unsalted butter. Whisk in the eggs and cocoa powder, and continue whisking until the mixture is visibly and texturally stickier and glossier. At this point, add the flour and mix until everything is just combined. Pop the pan into the oven and bake for 7-10 minutes. Whilst it’s baking, mix together the frosting ingredients. You need a fork and self-trust (that you won’t finish the whole bowl before the brownies are even out).

Check the brownies at 7 minutes- there should still be a slight wobble in the middle. Remove from the oven and let cool for a half hour before frosting. Cut into as many squares as you want, then eat and be happy.